Derby’s Deputy Mayor swapped his ceremonial robes for football kit when he kicked off the city’s 2nd Festival of Sport on Friday (15 June).
Councillor Frank Harwood, who will be 81 in July, joined teams of players aged over-50 and over-65 taking part in the walking football event, part of the festival organised by Derby City Sport Forum and Derby County Community Trust.
The festival runs until 15 July, during the period of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, and has been organised to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle by getting off couches and involved in sport and exercise. Free sessions are being offered at venues across the city in a range of sports including archery, badminton, bowls, boxing, fitness exercise, karate, netball, running, short tennis, swimming, table tennis and walking football. There is also a cycling session for people with disabilities.
Councillor Harwood addressed the players saying: “You dedicated footballers, here, prove that age is no barrier to competing in sport and having good exercise. You are an excellent example for others to follow.” He then blew a whistle to get the event underway, something he did many times as a Football League referee. Mr Harwood began refereeing in minor leagues before joining the Football League list in 1975, refereeing at top grounds around the country.
The Deputy Major joined the over-65 game at the DW Powerleague Soccerdome and scored in his side’s 6-2 victory.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it, a fantastic workout and well done to everybody who took part,” Councillor Harwood said once he had got his breath back. “They even let me score once! It’s a credit to all those who organise it and we hope it goes from strength to strength. This is the second Derby Festival of Sport, I will now try and keep fit for the third one!”
Springwood Leisure Centre will be offering free drop-in badminton sessions from 11am-1pm on Friday 15, 22 and 29 June, and 6 July as part of Derby Festival of Sport. Derby Arena is also holding a badminton taster day for beginners or returners to come and try their hand at the sport. On Wednesday 11 July there will be four sessions available, two in the morning (10-11 and 11-12) and two in the evening (6:30-7:30 and 7:30-8:30), with both junior and adult sessions.
Cycle Derby celebrate cycling at Markeaton Park, on Monday 18 June, with their inclusive cycle try-out, especially for people with disabilities at a level that will suit any rider. Cyclists can join any time between 4 and 6pm for a ride along the park path using specially-adapted two, three and four wheel bikes.
Local running club Shelton Striders have organised two 3km runs, as part of the festival, to take place in Darley Park on Wednesday 27 June and 4 July, with everybody welcome.
Springwood Leisure Centre will be offering active living sessions for over 50s, including badminton, table tennis, bowls and short tennis, for free, on Monday 18 June and Monday 2 July between 1:30 and 3:30pm.
Derby Arena will also be offering table tennis sessions on Sunday 16 June and 7 July for adults and juniors to introduce them to the sport.
Details of all the events and venues are on Derby Festival of Sport’s Facebook page.